Town officials at Tuckahoe Woods just before a groundbreaking ceremony in December. Photo: Town of Southampton

There are only a few days left to apply to a Southampton Town lottery that would give first-time home buyers the opportunity to own a newly constructed affordable home on the East End— a chance that many local residents can’t afford to pass.

The two single-family homes being lotteried, called “Tuckahoe Woods,” are in the process of being built on land donated by the Town thanks to the cooperation between Southampton Business Alliance, the Southampton Business Alliance Housing Initiative Corporation, the Town of Southampton and Long Island Housing Partnership.

Southampton Town director of housing and community development Diana Weir said construction is expected to be finished around April.

“This is a great opportunity and is open to whoever wishes to apply, not just Southampton Town residents” she said.

Located on Moses Lane and on Magee Street in Southampton, the homes are being sold for $332,400 each — which is around half of their estimated market value, according to Weir — and they will feature a living room, kitchen, study/bedroom and one bath on the main level and two bedrooms and one bath upstairs. There will also have a full basement, gas heat (propane), central air conditioning and all appliances.

If selected, Weir said they will then have to “submit paperwork,” which will include income, employment, credit and financial information such as bank statements, savings and bills to determine if they qualify for a mortgage.

Affordable housing, although not a new concept, is something that is picking up traction locally, something that Weir said stems from a tangible need for working families.

We need affordable housing here,” said Weird. “We have a problem because the people that work here cannot afford to live here, there’s not enough units to fill the need we have and that in turn also creates a traffic problem.”

Recently the Town of Southampton broke ground on Speonk Commons and will soon break ground on Sandy Hollow Cove apartments, executive director of the Southampton Town Housing Authority Curtis Highsmith said in an interview earlier this month.

Riverhead resident Rosabella Perez grew up, lives and works locally. Married and a mother of two daughters, she has been renting since 2012.

But since the birth of her younger daughter last year, they have outgrown their one-bedroom apartment.

Like most young families, the dream of becoming homeowners — with the extra space needed — is one of the Perez’s goals.

“We started house hunting last year,” Perez said. “Renting has become very expensive. We feel ready for the next step in our lives.”

Perez’s husband currently holds two jobs and she has a part-time job. She said they have been saving money for this moment and building up their credit, but to their surprise, they quickly found out that the local real estate market is much more complicated than they had expected.

“We are shocked. It is a horrible experience,” she said. “It is very competitive out there, there aren’t enough houses for working families like ours.”

Weir agrees. “We have a big list of people waiting for affordable homes — at least 800 in my list. The need is there,” she said.

Perez said that they felt frustrated at the difficulty of finding a house that met their needs, was within their budget and “wasn’t falling apart.”

“We have looked at many towns. It’s like being constantly knocked down, you can’t get ahead living in this area,” she said.

The median income in Nassau/Suffolk for a family of four in 2017 was $110,800, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But, according to the town’s Housing and Community Development office, “because of the high cost of living and high property values, even a family making over $100,000 finds it impossible to afford a market-rate home.”

Perez, who is applying for the lottery, said this could be the answer they were looking for.

“I really pray we can win this and qualify,” she said. “I would move to Southampton in a heartbeat.”

Applications to enter the lottery have to be submitted with a non-refundable $50 check by next Wednesday, February 28. The check has to be made payable to the Long Island Housing Partnership Inc, and delivered to 180 Oser Avenue, Suite 880, Hauppauge, NY 11788, Attention: Tuckahoe Woods Affordable Housing Program. Intake forms can be submitted online or by regular mail.

Qualified buyers have to meet HUD’s latest maximum income levels and household size limitations: one person- $93,050; two people- $106,350; three people- $119,650; four people- $132,950; five people- $143,600; six people-$154,250; seven people- $164,850; eight people- $175,500. As per the guidelines, each person who will be residing in the home must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified resident alien.

The lottery drawing will be held on Thursday, March 15 at 2 p.m. in Southampton Town Hall and will be public, said Weir.

“We will be picking up several numbers from a drum and then we will call those selected to see if they qualify,” she said.

To find out about future lottery opportunities and other affordable housing news Weir said to register on their website here

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María del Mar is a contributor to RiverheadLOCAL and the editor and founder of Tu Prensa Local, a Spanish-language local news outlet on Long Island. Maria has won several awards for her work, including a first place best column award from the New York Press Association. Email Maria